ITTA BENA, Miss – Mississippi Valley State took advantage of six TSU turnovers as they claimed a 35-14 victory on a rainy afternoon at Rice-Totten Stadium in Itta Bena, Miss.
After a three-and-out by the Tigers to open the contest, the TSU special teams made the first big play of the game as a blocked punt led to a touchdown and a 7-0 lead after the PAT. Two drives later, the Tiger offense committed its first turnover after crossing the MVSU side of the field as the ball was fumbled and recovered by MVSU as its 37.
The Tigers weren’t hurt by the turnover as they finished the first quarter ahead 7-0. However, MVSU opened the second quarter with an eight-play, 89-yard drive and cut TSU’s lead to 7-6 after a five-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was unsuccessful as TSU led 7-6.
After a three-and-out by the Tigers on the ensuing drive, MVSU converted three, third down conversions as they capped off an 11-play, 63-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run by Caleb Johnson. The PAT was good for the 13-7 lead with 3:34 remaining in the half.
TSU was on the verge of putting together a promising offensive drive to close out the half as they closed towards the red zone. However, TSU allowed a sack followed by an incomplete pass and a fumble which was recovered by the Delta Devils at the MVSU 9.
Both teams traded punts to open the second half and the turnover bug struck TSU again in a big way as MVSU picked off a TSU pass at the 12 and returned it for a touchdown and a 19-7 lead. Two drives later with TSU all the way at the MVSU 8, another promising scoring drive fell victim to the turnover bug again as the Delta Devils picked off a TSU pass in the endzone for a touchback.
Once again, the TSU defense forced MVSU to punt the ball early in the fourth quarter but the momentum was short-lived as MVSU recorded a safety on the first play of the next drive to lead 21-7. The Delta Devils used the energy from the safety and marched 47 yards on the next drive to move ahead 28-7 after a touchdown run and PAT.
The Tigers tried to answer on their next drive but threw an interception at the MVSU 1. The offense got the ball back after a three-and-out and finally broke free as Devin Williams connected with Malik Webb on a 12-yard strike for a touchdown. The PAT was good as TSU trailed 28-17 with 2:31 left.
TSU attempted the onside kick but MVSU recovered at the TSU 45. The defense forced MVSU to punt but the next drive summed up the entire game as the Delta Devils logged a strip sack for the final touchdown of the night.
TSU finished with 296 yards of offense as Dominic Franklin led the way with 79 rushing yards on 22 carries. Williams passed for 94 yards on a touchdown as Thurman Morbley led all receivers with four receptions for 49 yards. Patrick Howell led all TSU defenders with 11 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss followed by Viramontes Pippens’ 10 tackles.
TSU is back in action next weekend at Grambling State for a 2 p.m. kickoff.